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2019 WhichCar Style Award: Meet the judges

By WhichCar Staff, 25 Jan 2019 Car Style

From designers to industry-leading journalists and editors, influential style leaders and beyond, our nine judges are experts when it comes to spotting style

2019 WhichCar Style Award: Meet the judges

In order to make the WhichCar Style Award come to life, we enlisted a collective who can offer up a broad palette of style and design insights from fields beyond the automotive spectrum.

Style itself can be easy to see but tougher to define, and our talented cabal of judges are uniquely qualified to not only spot good design and style from across the street, they can define and discuss it at fascinating length, not to mention interpret trends and comment on how style can influence and infiltrate different markets.  Here, we introduce the team of stylish judges who are tasked with making the call on this year’s most outstanding new car on the design front. 

Paul Beranger, Automotive design guru

With more than 40 years of experience under his belt, designer Paul Beranger is a very valuable judge to have on the WhichCar panel. Beranger has led a distinguished career as one of Australia’s leading automotive designers, after first cutting his teeth at Holden in 1968, before moving to Nissan where he relished the opportunity to work on the brand’s performance vehicles, and Toyota after that. Since putting down the pen, Beranger has acted as a consultant and is an often called-upon expert on design in an ever-changing industry. Last year, he published his first book Crayon to CAD:A History of Post-War Automotive Design in Australia. Beranger is a WhichCar Style Award veteran now, and his passion for design, appetite for all things new, calm insight and vast automotive knowledge not only makes him a fantastic counter to the rest of the panel, but an encyclopaedia of information the judges draw from when getting to know each finalist.

READ MORE: Behind the Scenes of the WhichCar Style Awards

Glenn Butler, Content Director, WhichCar network

With a career in automotive journalism that stretches back more than two decades, Glenn’s vision for the WhichCar Style Award has introduced a new benchmark of sophistication and professionalism to the process, as well as to the judging panel.  A former editor of Wheels magazine, Glenn has also worked within the automotive industry itself, giving him crucial insights and a critical eye into just why style decisions make the cut or miss out completely.  “People might talk about buying a car because it has great fuel economy, or the latest safety stuff, but they really think ‘how will I look in this car, and how will it look in my driveway?’” argues Glenn. “The industry spends untold billions on style and design, and we’re here to recognise that.”

READ MORE: New Cars for 2019: Best new cars for a busy lifestyle

Tanya Buchanan, Editor, Belle Magazine

As the editor of Belle, one of Australia’s most prestigious luxury style and design magazines, Tanya Buchanan is an authority on interior design, art and architecture, in Australia and around the globe. In her professional life, Buchanan gets to peek inside other some of the world’s most beautiful homes (and garages, it would seem) to survey what defines luxury on an international scale. On style, Buchanan says, “It’s an expression of how we see ourselves and how we want the world to perceive us. Our choice of cars, fashion and accessories is an expression of our personal aesthetic.” Buchanan is well-versed on the WhichCar Style Award criteria, being one of our longest serving judges.

Fiona Connolly, Editor-in-Chief, Women’s Day, Ok! And NW

If any of our judges are going to know the ins-and-outs of everyday lives of Australian women and how their car might play into that, it’s Fiona Connolly. This busy editor-in-chief of Australia’s three biggest weekly magazines has forged an enviable career in media working in magazines and newspapers. Speaking to some 2.944 million Australian women each month, Connolly is across everything that women want – from life at home and at work to entertainment, culture, lifestyle and all the way through to providing the stories to not only inspire but act as talking points. From this viewpoint and also as a mother herself, Connolly brings a unique perspective on form versus real-world function to our judging panel.

Noelle Faulkner, Senior Journalist, WhichCar

Noelle Faulkner might be WhichCar’s newest recruit, but she has been part of the family for some time, both as atwo-time Wheels Car of the Year judge and presenter for the WhichCar Style Award. With over a decade’s journalism experience, predominately within the luxury space, Faulkner has written for the likes of GQ, Vogue, Vogue Living,  Marie Claire, QANTAS, The Guardian, Harper’s BAZAAR and more, and is also ELLE Magazine’s Drive contributor. It’s this experience, both reporting on global trends, fashion, design and fine art, coupled with her expertise as a motoring journalist, that gives Faulkner a unique view on what award-winning automotive style truly means and where the bar of innovation should be set.

READ MORE:  Car interiors of the future, from mild to wild

Karlie Verkerk, Deputy Editor, Real Living and Inside Out

From being judged in MasterChef Australia to being a judge herself. Karlie Verkerk became a household name when she competed in the much-loved cooking program, finishing a very respectable third.  But aside from her skills in the kitchen, she is also a talented journalist and is currently the deputy editor of two of Australia’s leading design magazines, Real Living and Inside Out.  Her work with these magazines sees her at the forefront of Australian interiors and a highly skilled voice on how lifestyle, purpose, liveability and, importantly, value, can all play into aesthetics; not to mention how it should be judged. “I think great design simplifies day-to-day life, but also makes it beautiful at the same time,” she says. “It seems pretty straightforward in theory, but the balance between simplicity, functionality and beauty – whether it’s in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive or the furniture and appliances we have in our homes - takes a long time to perfect.”

Luc Wiesman, Founder and Editor-In-Chief, D’Marge

Self-confessed motorhead Luc Wiesman is the founder of D’Marge.com, a well-respected men’s lifestyle platform. Spanning style, grooming, science, travel and of course, motoring, a quick glance at the site and it doesn’t take long to note the scope that this multi-talented digital native brings to the WhichCar Style Award judging panel. With a background in digital at some of Australia’s most prestigious advertising agencies, Wiesman is a knowledgeable expert on influence, luxury and decoding what it means to be a modern male in 2019. As such, Weisman brings a unique ability to weigh in on the WhichCar Style Award finalists with a truly discerning eye for detail, currency and impact.

READ MORE: Car Style Features

Brooke Meredith, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, A Conscious Collection

Founder and editor-in-chief of wellness and healthy living publication, A Conscious Collection, Brooke Meredith is as passionate about lifestyle as she is about offering a modern view on wellness and positive living. For her, this also incorporates a deep love of travel, cars and automotive culture – Meredith was last year’s official Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix ambassador. Prior to launching A Conscious Collection, this entrepreneur also trained as a graphic designer – another string to her bow that she stretched when adjudicating the beautiful lines of the machines of the WhichCar Style Awards field. As a sought-after professional in the lifestyle and fashion space, Meredith has worked with brands like DIOR, Mercedes-Benz, MECCA, Swisse, MYER, Country Road, The Iconic, Lululemon and Nike, making her one of our most fashionable judges this year.

Jason Grant, Interior/props stylist and author

As one of Australia’s most revered stylists, Jason Grant’s portfolio of clients reads more like a who’s who of the design world. He’s worked with magazines like Real Living, Inside Out, Belle, Vogue Living, Australian House and Garden, The Sunday Times UK, Milk Decoration and Grazia Magazine UK; as well as brands like David Jones, King Living, Reece Bathrooms, Pottery Barn, West Elm, Country Road, Sheridan, Murobond Paints, Myer and more. On top of that, he’s managed to publish three books chronicling his approach to decoration. Grant’s uniquely Australian, relaxed aesthetic is rooted in lifestyle with a true down-to-earth simplicity. So when it came to tallying up the finalists and splitting the hairs, there was no better person to to call on when it comes to the fine art of marrying beauty, Australian living and automotive design.